Big Game Information
Big game hunting in Kansas is a relatively new heritage because nearly all big game species were extirpated from the state by 1900. Prior to settlement, the prairies of Kansas were home to tremendous herds of bison, elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. In the timbered areas of eastern Kansas, white-tailed deer were abundant. The first modern deer season was held in 1965, and permits were limited. Today, white-tailed deer thrive statewide and permits for residents are sold across the counter. Mule deer are still common in western Kansas, though permits to hunt them are limited. Pronghorn antelope are limited to far-western counties where large areas of native prairie are still found, and residents can hunt them if they receive a coveted permit in the annual drawing. Similarly, elk are hunted through very limited permits. The only free-ranging elk herd in Kansas is found on the Fort Riley Military Reservation in Riley County. Hunters can receive a Kansas Trophy Certificate if the antlers or horns from a deer or antelope they kill achieves a minimum score. The department also maintains an unofficial Top 20 list for deer and antelope.